Colts Notebook: Players Return For Start Of Offseason Program
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INDIANAPOLIS – Monday was the first time Andrew Luck and Darius Leonard had spoken to the local media in more than three months.
And the fact that each received several questions about one getting married (Luck) and one becoming a father (Leonard) is a great sign on the lack of drama surrounding the Colts, and their two best players, this offseason.
The Colts reconvened on Monday morning as they started their offseason program. Currently, they are in Phase 1 of a three-phase offseason program. Phase 1 lasts two weeks, with activities limited to strength and conditioning/rehab activities. Coaches can hold meetings with players, but cannot go on the field yet. Players are allowed to be at the complex for 4 hours each day, with the weekly participation lasting 4 days each week.
Individual drills on the field, with coaches watching, will come next month, before full-team activities occur later this spring
Here’s a notebook look at the Colts reporting back to work on Monday:
- We heard from Andrew Luck, Darius Leonard and Ryan Kelly on Monday.
- The big offseason news for Luck? He got married in Prague and his disco moves went viral. Luck hasn’t thrown a football since the Pro Bowl, and that’s by plan as he knew he had to get away and decompress before he starts to ramp up his football activities and get back on the grind. “I actually got away, truly,” Luck said of his offseason. “And it took a little bit, I really didn’t realize I was still on edge from the season, even the month or two afterwards. Finally, I got a chance to get away. I talked to Chris (Ballard) a little about that. He sort of challenged me to turn my mind off in a sense. It took a while, but I did get away. I feel refreshed. I got a chance to catch up with a lot of family and friends and obviously getting married. It was a very nice offseason.” Here's more from Luck in meeting the media on Monday.
- Earlier this year, I addressed the desire of Darius Leonard to re-adjust his body going into Year Two. On Monday, Leonard said he’s weighing 221 pounds and doesn’t want to play above 225 this fall. Leonard’s weight dropped from 234, when he was drafted, to around 218 by the end of his rookie season. “I’m not a typical linebacker,” Leonard stated on Monday. “I’m more of a speed guy, very athletic, so if I’m going to play in space, I’m going to need to move.” And, in case you are wondering, Leonard is still motivated by that Pro Bowl snub: “Without a doubt,” The Maniac said with a smile.
- Ryan Kelly heads into a very important 4th NFL season under a new offensive line coach. With Kelly and the Colts returning to work on Monday, Frank Reich wasted little time letting the offense know where the head coach wants to improve this season. Reich showed the offense numbers in how effective they ran the ball during their 9-1 stretch to end last year, compared to rushing games issues in their 1-5 start. “The difference between where we were at 1-5 (to the end of the year), it’s huge,” Kelly said of the run game impacting winning on Monday. “I think it really accelerates the rest of the game as well, those big passing gains, the RPOs, stuff like that really comes a little bit easier when you are running the ball really heavily. As an offensive line, you want to take that as your responsibility and take some pride in that as well. It will be a huge emphasis for us.”
- At Saturday’s Local Pro Day (with Notre Dame's Jerry Tillery watching), Frank Reich had this to say about his message to the team at the start of the offseason program, compared to what he said to his team last spring: “I’m going to say it a slightly different way but it’s going to be pretty similar,” Reich said. “Last year at that meeting, we laid a foundation. I was thinking (this year), ‘Well, we aren’t going to have a new foundation, but the goal is to build another story and to go higher.’ The higher you go when you build, the more important it is that the foundation is deep and secure. We will probably have an annual foundation inspection. Let’s re-check our foundation. This part of the year will be a good part of the year to do that.”
- Remember, the first 8 weeks of the offseason program is voluntary. The only mandatory portion of the spring comes during a three-day minicamp, running June 11-13. Still, even with the ‘voluntary’ tag on this time of year, participation is often very close to 100 percent.
- Chris Ballard confirmed on Saturday that WR-Deon Cain (ACL) and TE-Jack Doyle (hip) are the only two Colts not expected to participate in the spring offseason program. Both are expected to be ready for the start of Training Camp.
- Speaking of Ballard, he’s in the midst of ‘tense’ draft meetings as his scouting staff finalizes their draft board. The 2019 Draft starts next Thursday and runs through Saturday. Ballard will have his pre-draft press conference on Monday, April 22.
- Going into the Draft, the Colts have 73 players on their roster. Here’s a positional breakdown of their 73-man roster, which will grow to 90 over the next two weeks.
- The Colts took care of some roster housekeeping on Monday, with players back in the building. WR-Chester Rogers, WR-Marcus Johnson and S-Matthias Farley all signed their restricted free agent tenders. Reserve offensive lineman Evan Boehm is the only RFA to have not yet signed his tender to return in 2019. Friday is the deadline for Boehm, who was in the building on Monday, to sign that. Rogers and Farley have played key roles for Indy in years past, and the staff is high on the potential of Johnson, who went on IR in October last fall.